9 Signs Your Dog Is Sick

Very often, dog owners can understand that something is wrong with the pet even intuitively. And as a rule, they are not mistaken. The behavior, habits, and even the look of a sick dog are changing, but there are a number of more accurate signs that will help you determine that your dog is not feeling well and take action quickly.

Save this checklist so as not to waste precious time if you feel that your dog needs a doctor’s help.

Top 9 Signs Your Dog is Sick

Unfortunately, none of the dog illness symptoms can directly indicate a specific disease. And what’s more, sometimes even troubling symptoms can be variants of the norm – for example, loss of appetite and changes in behavior can be associated with hot weather. However, you should be alert all the time.

Change in Behavior

A change in dog behavior is the surest sign that the dog is feeling unwell. This is a sure sign, but not the only one. And in order to establish the cause, you should pay attention to other symptoms as well.

As for behavior, most often a sick dog loses interest in games and walks, practically does not want to communicate, seek solitude. The reverse situation is also possible – the dog can become aggressive and unpredictable, for example, when infected with the rabies virus.

make your dog obidient

Attempts to run away from home, prolonged barking, and anxiety are also alarming symptoms.

Deterioration of the Condition of Fur and Skin

This symptom can talk about a variety of diseases.

  • The simplest reason for the deterioration of the coat and skin is vitamin deficiency. In this case, you will notice that the dog is looking for and eating a certain type of grass, or very persistently asking you for a certain vegetable or fruit that you eat.
  • This symptom can also be a sign of food allergies. Then you should remember if the dog ate something that was not intended for it, and also review the pet’s diet.
  • The most dangerous situation is a tick bite, which can be fatal if you do not consult a doctor on time. In this case, loss of appetite, fever, and itching at the site of the bite will be the main symptoms.

Loss of Appetite

In most cases, a sick dog will refuse to eat. And this also cannot be an isolated symptom – most likely, if the dog refuses to eat, then digestive disorders also take place.

And here is another important point. The dog may refuse food, but most likely it will not refuse water. Moreover, if you observe increased thirst, then this can also be an alarming signal – either the dog has a fever, or it is progressive diabetes.

Temperature Rise

A dog with a high temperature will have a dry and hot nose. This is the easiest way to catch this symptom. You can also feel the heat from the head and body of the dog. The most accurate way to measure a dog’s temperature is to do it reclusively using a thermometer, and it’s best to entrust this task to the doctor.

As for the causes of high fever, it is most likely a viral infection. If it is a respiratory virus, then the dog will also have a runny nose and possibly coughing and prolonged sneezing.


This is not the most obvious sign, and it will be more appropriate to use special equipment for measuring the dog’s heart rate. However, if you hear that the animal’s heart beats too loudly and too often, even when the dog is simply lying motionless, this is a signal that you need to check the condition of the pet.

This may be a temporary condition due to high temperature, and it may also indicate disturbances in the functioning of the heart and circulatory system. In the latter case, you will also observe dog panting and shaking. 

Digestion Change

Most often, the digestion process also changes if the dog becomes ill. Depending on the disease, it can be diarrhea or constipation, nausea and vomiting, and atypical urine in the dog. Be sure to pay attention to these signs, as this will be one of the first questions that the veterinarian will ask you when you come to see him.


This is a very clear sign – you definitely should not miss it. As a rule, lameness can be associated with three reasons.

  • The consequences of an injury. If you know that the dog is injured and the animal is limping now, this is a clear sign that something has gone wrong.
  • Age-related changes. If the dog has reached a venerable age, then its joints are already beginning to wear out. This can cause lameness. In addition, the dog may also suffer from arthritis and arthrosis.
  • Features of the breed and genetics. Dogs that have a special body structure, such as dachshunds, also have special problems with their musculoskeletal system. In this case, lameness can develop into atrophy of the limbs. Therefore, you need to be especially careful if you know about such features of the breed.

Weight Loss

Weight loss can be a normal symptom for dogs of respectable age. However, this is a wake-up call for young animals. Moreover, weight loss cannot happen instantly – most likely, you will observe the loss of appetite and changes in behavior over time.

Owners of fluffy dogs, for example, collie, chow chow, groenendael need to be especially careful, because the lush fur coat will create the illusion of normal weight for a long time.

Cramps and Seizures

Dog shivering and lethargic, dog trembling are very serious and dangerous signs. In this case, you need to call your doctor immediately, as these symptoms can indicate very bad illnesses. In the best case, cramps can occur due to temperature, in the worst case, it can be oncological processes in the brain. In the latter case, the dog will also lose orientation, have a shaky gait, and the frequency of convulsive attacks will increase. In this situation, you should never ask what to do when your dog is sick but call the vet immediately. 

Important! Unfortunately, some diseases tend to be asymptomatic, for example, malignant tumors or diabetes. In this case, you will begin to see alarming signs only when the disease already begins to strongly affect all organs and systems. That is why it is necessary to constantly monitor the health of the dog, periodically schedule appointments with the veterinarian and do basic clinical tests. This is especially true for dogs that are prone to certain diseases due to the nature of the breed.

And even more important! Do not try to diagnose your dog yourself. Only a professional doctor can do this, taking into account age, breed, genetic diseases, medical history, clinical tests. Very often, the same symptom can talk about different diseases. For example, diarrhea can be a consequence of both food poisoning and progressive diabetes. Lameness may be due to trauma or progressive joint disease. In each individual case, it is necessary to comprehensively analyze the health status of the dog.


Remember that the ability to identify alarming signs is your area of responsibility. This is especially true for dog breeds that are restless and constantly looking for new adventures – for example, dachshunds or Labradors. Moreover, most diseases are completely curable in the early stages. As for genetic or age-related diseases, as we have already said, do not forget about the need for preventive consultations with a veterinarian.

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Henry Killingsworth
Henry Killingsworth
2 years ago

Thank you for pointing out that shivering and lethargy are both signs that a dog is sick. My dog has been shivering and chewing his leg for the past couple of days. I will have to find a veterinarian that I can take my dog to tomorrow.

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